Bombardier electric hybrid train to keep Germany's green ambitions on track

Bombardier electric hybrid train to keep Germany's green ambitions on track
Credit: Bombardier

The conversation around a greener future and transportation weighs heavily in the court of electric cars, with ample input from car vendors over research, development and models in the wings. What about trains? Can a battery train pose a veritable challenge to diesel? Inter-city and cross-state travel involves trains and attention must be paid toward what and how engineers intend to deliver viable environmental solutions that not only work but pay off in the end.

Quoted in Global Railway Review, Transport Minister, Winfried Hermann, said, "In Germany we are at the precipice of a dramatic technological revolution – including in railways. Digitisation of railways will allow us to respond adequately to the automation of road transport and to secure competitiveness within Europe."

Germany is determined to stay on track in addressing pollution and climate change with transportation alternatives; a train that can charge its batteries from the overhead line while driving is in the news. The Bombardier Talent 3 electro-hybrid train was introduced to the public at a recent press event. It can run on partly electrified stretches, tapping overhead power lines to charge.

Green Car Congress, fitting to the site's name, made note that the train "does not generate any exhaust" and is quieter than modern diesel trains.

The company behind this battery-operated train is Bombardier Transportation. Bombardier is in the business of "rail solutions," and these range from trains to signaling to maintenance services.

Picture three carriages and a driver; the train can run on batteries with a range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) between charges.

Range could be in for brighter future developments, too; Green Car Congress said that "The range of the train will increase proportionally with the continuous capacity increases due to new battery developments."

In 2019, said Engineering News, "the next generation of battery-operated trains will be able to cover distances of up to 100 km on non-electrified railways." The current prototype is equipped with four Bombardier Mitrac traction batteries.

Around 40 percent of the German rail network is not electrified, according to reports.

Brian Parkin in Bloomberg reported on the recent launch of this "electric hybrid" train.

What's next? "Andreas Dienemann, a spokesman for Bombardier's German unit, said the company is seeking orders for the Talent parallel to running pilot projects that kicked off this month," according to Bloomberg.

Green Car Congress said that in 2019, Deutsche Bahn will start a 12-month trial run with passengers with the current prototype.

Engineering News quoted Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure State Secretary Enak Ferlemann: "On non-electrified or only partially electrified routes, the motto is to move away from diesel on the tracks and toward cleaner and more environmentally friendly mobility."

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User comments

Sep 18, 2018
Batteries should drop onto the Train in Running at frequent intervals to relieve almost discharged previous one; Just Hold them above the train space on the path ! Electricity is NOT Renewable energy, while Solar Batteries are !

Sep 18, 2018
"Batteries should drop onto the Train in Running"

Where exactly would be the advantage? I see only disadvantages in this steup.

Sep 18, 2018
One would think that it is cheaper and greener to just electrify the remaining 40% of the rail system.

Sep 19, 2018
Not really possible in all circumstances (I know, My parents live close to one of these non-electrified lines where there's just not enough space in some places to install the required infrastructure).
In the end it's an economical calculation. Overhead lines do have maintenance costs per km and year.
If the amount of traffic on the particular line is low then - at currently dropping battery prices - it quickly becomes cheaper to have battery systems on trains.

Thinking long term: All trains should be *only* battery operated and not have any overhead lines at all. That way a complex system would be removed and a source of potential failure (due to extreme weather conditions, sabotage or simple mechanical failures) eliminated.

(And all the fearful people could stop griping about EM-radiation)

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